August 3, 2020
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.
Have you ever started a new job, school, or relationship only to quickly find that it was not at all what you hoped it would be? Some parents bring home their newborn baby with stars in their eyes, and only a few days later talk like they’ve been thrust into a fight for their life and sanity. In this story, we find the disciples in a similar situation. Jesus has sent them ahead towards Capernaum. It’s a couple miles along the north shore of the Sea of Galilee from where they were. For experienced fishermen, probably not a daunting task, and probably not a journey they were undertaking for the first time.
However, in a very short time they find themselves in deep trouble. They started their journey in the evening – and now it’s dark. What probably began as good traveling weather has turned – with blowing wind and rough water. Does that shift in circumstance sound familiar to where you are today? Do you find yourself in over your head or navigating a series of broken promises and unfulfilled expectations?
One of the overwhelming emotions of those troubled places is described in the middle of these few verses. The author notes that “Jesus had not yet joined them.” I’m not sure how they were expecting Jesus to join them while they were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. But his absence is felt acutely. One of the things we can take from this story is the knowledge that we will, at times, feel separated from God’s presence. Lots of things can contribute to that feeling – from our own poor choices to difficult circumstances. Or, as the disciples experienced, it can simply be because we are unaware of what God is doing in the meantime.
What the disciples didn’t know was that Jesus was, at that very moment, working his way towards them. While they saw the wind and the waves, they couldn’t see that Jesus was making his way across the sea to join them. The same is true for you. If you feel overwhelmed and confused, know that Jesus is working his way towards you. Instead of allowing those feelings to overwhelm you, stop to ask the question, “God, where are you? What are you doing?” Try (and ask others around you to help you) to raise your eyes from the wind and the waves, and begin looking for Jesus instead.